Here at Invest From the Ground Up, we are always talking about all that trees do for us. You may have seen our many articles and resources showing how trees help our communities in so many ways from increasing property values to reducing our stress; today we recognize one of the most basic reasons we need trees and should take care of them—they provide the very air we need to survive.
Trees provide the air we breathe:
Simply put, we humans use our lungs to breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Trees do a similar activity transforming carbon dioxide into the clean, pure oxygen we need. Without trees and other greenery we wouldn’t be able to breathe. So we need trees. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, one mature leafy tree produces enough oxygen for 10 people every year. And its important to realize that a tree’s health is one of the key factors in its ability to produce oxygen. Essentially, keeping our trees healthy keeps us healthy.
Trees clean the air:
In addition to providing us with oxygen, trees help cleanse the air of harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. This is important because numerous studies have shown that exposure to pollutants can cause a variety of health problems including irregular heartbeats, heart attacks, aggravated asthma, decrease lung function and other respiratory ailments.
Tree species vary in their pollution cleaning abilities. Studies have also revealed that certain species are better at pollution control such as the English elm, mulberry, cherry, linden, tulip tree, American sycamore, and honey locust. Professor Gail Taylor explains: “Trees have evolved to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, so it’s not surprising that they are also good at removing pollutants. Trees which have leaves the whole year are exposed to more pollution and so they take up more .”
Large trees also remove more pollutants than small trees so it is worth it to care for our trees to help them grown big and healthy. A 30-inch-diameter tree removes about 70 times more air pollution a year than a 3-inch-diameter tree, assuming both are healthy.
Trees cool the air:
Trees cool our communities two ways: First through shade and also by reducing the air temperature by removing pollutants. Nowadays with climate change and hotter weather, we need more of this tree cooling activity. Interestingly, hotter temperature also leads to the release of more pollutants, so by keeping it cool, trees prevent the pollutants from the start.
We urge all residents, homeowners, business owners, neighborhood associations, co-op boards and local governments to invest in planting and caring for trees. They not only beautify our neighborhoods, they also let us breathe easy.